Promotion brochures ‘ambiguous’: foundation

By Joseph Yeh,The China Post

Over 80 percent of randomly selected supermarket promotion brochures were ambiguously written without clearly specifying prices before discounts, or the total number of special offer products, which can be misleading to customers, the Consumers’ Foundation said yesterday. ”We conducted the survey as many people depend on the information provided in the discount brochures to find special bargains, especially during a time of soaring commodity prices,” said foundation’s chairwoman Joann Su yesterday in a press conference to unveil the survey. Only two from a total of 12 brochures found in local chain hypermarkets had correctly labeled both the discount prices and original prices before price cuts, while 10 of the promotion handouts failed to provide clear information to customers, Su noted. The survey also revealed that 11 out of the 12 brochures used vague promotional slogans, such as suggesting that there were limited supplies of discount products without specifying how many items were available, she added. Su noted that it is perfectly fine for supermarkets to limit the number of promotion products they are selling. However, they should make it clear on the pamphlets so that customers can make their own decision on whether or not to visit the markets to purchase the items during the promotional period.

If these markets deliberately choose to conceal the information, it could be seen as a form of false advertising and they could face a possible fine of up to NT$25 million for violating the Fair Trade Act (公平交易法).

The foundation urged related authorities to conduct regular checks of these ambiguously-labeled brochures and to mete out punishment or fines to chain hypermarkets who deliberately falsely handouts for advertising purposes.

Consumers are also asked to be cautious, and not be fooled by these advertising traps.